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You could snag the wave of your life. When purple South Swell blobs set the Southern California surf hype machines in motion it’s hard not to get your hopes up. We all picture endless lines stacked to the horizon. Classic Malibu. That’s why the Malibu experience has transformed into something else entirely: drop-ins, bad waves, back paddles, the occasional water fight, and parking tickets. It’s more often the latter than the former. This is what it’s really like to Surf Malibu. Few surf towns have the backstory Malibu does. This quiet beach town a dozen miles west of West Los Angeles, which was inaccessible ranch land until the ’20s, has played a huge hand in the relationship between surfers and mainstream society.

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